Course Content (Syllabus)
The objective of the course is to offer the students a diagram of the development of the byzantine civilisation with special emphasis on architecture and art history from the beginning of the 3rd century until 1453, that is to say from the time of the wide diffusion of the Christianism until the fall of Constantinople. The most representative topographical and architectural entities are examined as well as the most characteristic examples of the mosaics, frescoes, icons and sculpture works. The material is divided into periods and sub-periods following chronological and geographical terms. Mainly, it is given emphasis to the production of the great centers of the Byzantine State. Moreover, we examine the historical parameters that led to the crystallized general characteristics of every period combining them to art and architecture.
Week #1 Introduction in the meaning of the Byzantine Culture and its remains. Analysis of the terms, theory of the Byzantine Art, periods, basic characteristics. Proto-byzantine period – Early Christian art. Catacombs, sepulchral monuments, domus ecclesiae. The architectural evolution of the ritual building. The ideology. The time and place: Rome and Est 2nd – 4th cent.
Week #2 The art in the Constantine period and forward: the emergency of the type of the basilica, the architectural and liturgical sections of the naos, the structural characteristics. Paradigms in the Eastern and the Western part of the State. Time and place: Rome, the Holy Land, Κωνσταντινούπολη, 4ος και 5ος αι.
Week #3 The concentric buildings: simple circular, composite circular, free-standing and inscribed octagonal, multi-conch buildings. Cruciform churches. Baptisteries. Time and place: Italian peninsula, East, Constantinople, Thessaloniki, Macedonia. 4th-6th cent.
Week #4 The domed basilica and its evolution: historical and ideological context. Structural characteristics, representative paradigms and Aghia Sophia in Constantinople. Time and place: Constantinople, Ravenna, East. End of 5th – 6th cent. (Justinian period and reconquista).
Week #5 The urban planning of Constantinople: the transformation of the Greek colony into the capital of the ecumenical empire of the east medieval world. Basic urban characteristics, articulation of the city (fortifications, secular buildings, roads and public works) emphasizing mainly to the proto-byzantine period. Parallel elements with Thessaloniki.
The sculpture in the proto-byzantine period –general characteristics: secular examples, architectural and ritual sculpture.
Week#6 Monumental painting – Mosaics (1): Art and technique of the mosaic. A brief historic and ideological background. Floor mosaics – Wall mosaics: Constantinople, Thessaloniki, Cyprus, Sinai. 4th – 7th cent.
Week #7 Monumental painting – Mosaics (2): Wall mosaics: Ravenna and Rome. 4rth-7th cent.
Portative icons: Art and technique. Ideology of the icon. Origin and evolution during the protobyzantine period. From the portraits of Fayum to the encaustic icons of Sinai and Rome. 3rd – 8th cent.
Week #8 The time of Transition (the “dark ages”) – The Iconoclastic period: historical, ideological and religious parameters of the epoch. The impact in the cities and in the country. New archaeological data. The architectural type of the domed church with ambulatory and its transformation. Paradigms. Monumental painting and non iconic decoration. Art of the East and of the West. Paradigms. Time and place: Helladic peninsula and the islands, Constantinople, Asia Minor, Rome. Middle 7th, 8th, middle 9th cent.
Week #9 Middle byzantine period (864-1204) (1): time borders, historical diagram. Basic characteristics of the period in the section of Civilization. The renaissance of the arts. Architecture: origin and evolution of the inscribed crossed domed church. Examples in Constantinople and in areas under its influence. The Architecture of the “Helladic school” and its categories, general and special characteristics: examples from the southern Greece.
Week #10 Middle byzantine period (864-1204) (2): The evolution in the support of the dome: the composed octagon churches with angular conches. The simple or insular octagon churches. Examples of the central, southern and insular Greece. The imperial donations and the evolution of the monastic world. Monastic architecture. The triconch crossed domed type in Mount Athos.
Week #11 The monumental painting under the Macedonian dynasty: Macedonian renaissance – byzantine humanism and the arts. The iconographic program of the inscribed cross domed church and the new thematic frame. The mosaic decoration in Aghia Sophia of Constantinople. The imperial votive representations: political and artistic context.
Week #12 The evolution of the mosaics and wall painting decoration: the decoration of three eminent monasteries of the 11th cent. Aghios Lucas (2nd half of the 11th cent.), Nea Moni in Chios (1042-1056), Moni Dafniou (c. 1080). Examples of the evolution of the mural decoration under the Macedonian and the Comnenian dynasty in basic artistic centers: an approach in iconographic and stylistic topics.
Week #13 Late byzantine period – Palaeologan epoch (1261-1204). The historical context and the meaning of the palaeologan renaissance. The old types in new forms. The combination of different elements and the complexity of the forms. Comparative paradigms from Constantinople and Thessaloniki in the architecture and monumental painting. The emergence of the artistic “schools” and artistic cycles with painters who sign their works. Recapitulation of the previous lectures. Discussion on the basic aims of the course. General instructions for the exams.
Additional bibliography for study
Γ. Γούναρης, Εισαγωγή στην Παλαιοχριστιανική Αρχαιολογία, Α΄ Αρχιτεκτονική, Θεσσαλονίκη 2000.
Γ. Γούναρης, Εισαγωγή στην Παλαιοχριστιανική Αρχαιολογία, Β΄ Ζωγραφική, Θεσσαλονίκη 2007.
Ν. Γκιολές, Παλαιοχριστιανική μνημειακή ζωγραφική (π. 300-726), Αθήνα 2007.
Ν. Γκιολές, Βυζαντινή Ναοδομία (600-1204), Αθήνα 1987.
Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους, τ. Ζ σσ. 354-397, τ. Η΄ σσ. 274-325, τ. Θ΄ σσ. 394-458.
E. Kitzinger, Byzantine Art in the Making, Λονδίνο 1977.
R. Krautheimer, Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture, Yale Univ. Press 1992.
Τζ. Λόουντεν, Πρώιμη χριστιανική και βυζαντινή τέχνη, Αθήνα 1999.
C. Mango, Byzantine Architecture, New York 1976.
C. Mango, Βυζάντιο, η αυτοκρατορία της Νέας Ρώμης, Αθήνα 1988, 301-330.
Ν. Πανσελήνου, Βυζαντινή ζωγραφική. Η βυζαντινή κοινωνία και οι εικόνες της.
J.-M. Spieser, Η αυτοκρατορική και χριστιανική τέχνη. Ενότητα και διαφορές, στο: C. Morrison (επ.), Ο Βυζαντινός κόσμος, τ. Α΄, Η Ανατολική Ρωμαϊκή Αυτοκρατορία, Αθήνα 2007, 307-391.